6 creative activities to try out now that school’s over

Summer Illo3

Summer’s here, and it’s time for students to finally take a breath after a seemingly endless amount of exams — but rising temperatures often mean a drop in productivity. Avoid the summer slump and make the most of your free time by trying out these 6 activities:

1. Play an instrument

How to read music

Like an actor’s script, a sheet of music instructs a musician on what to play (the pitch) and when to play it (the rhythm). Sheet music may look complicated, but once you’ve gotten the hang of a few simple elements like notes, bars and clefs, you’re ready to rock. Tim Hansen hits the instrumental basics you need to read music.

2. Improve your writing

How to write descriptively

The point of fiction is to cast a spell, a momentary illusion that you are living in the world of the story. But as a writer, how do you suck your readers into your stories in this way? Nalo Hopkinson shares some tips for how to use language to make your fiction really come alive.

3. Become a photographer

How to take a great picture

Have you ever looked at your camera and wondered what all of those buttons actually do? For manual photography, the aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity can all be manipulated to get just the right amount of light. Carolina Molinari suggests the best exposure for an action photo, a stunning portrait or a nighttime landscape.

4. Record your family and friends

Let’s make history…by recording it

What if Anne Frank hadn’t kept a diary? What if no one could listen to Martin Luther King’s Mountaintop speech? What if the camera hadn’t been rolling during the first moon landing? Actively listening to the voices of the past and the people who matter to us is important, and StoryCorps wants you to lend your voice to history, too. Here’s how.

5. Go to an art museum

How art can help you analyze

Can art save lives? Not exactly, but our most prized professionals (doctors, nurses, police officers) can learn real world skills through art analysis. Studying art like René Magritte’s Time Transfixed can enhance communication and analytical skills, with an emphasis on both the seen and unseen. Amy E. Herman explains why art historical training can prepare you for real world investigation.

6. Create sidewalk art

The mathematics of sidewalk illusions

Have you ever come across an oddly stretched image on the sidewalk, only to find that it looks remarkably realistic if you stand in exactly the right spot? These sidewalk illusions employ a technique called anamorphosis — a special case of perspective art where artists represent 3D views on 2D surfaces. So how is it done? Fumiko Futamura traces the history and mathematics of perspective.

Want to learn more? Check out our Thinking & Learning lessons that will keep your mind active throughout the year.

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